Escalating LPG prices push Kenyans to use of charcoal and kerosene
By Robert Mwambingu
Rising cost of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is forcing consumers to opt for alternative sources as gas dealers decry loss of business in Mombasa.
Most gas agents complained they are incurring huge losses occasioned by the escalating prices in the last two months.
Gas prices in Mombasa have increased leaving distributors, retail agents and consumers confused. A 6-kg cylinder of the Sea Gas brand for instance increased from around Sh600 to Sh 1,400 in a few days.
Agents interviewed by Business Hub in Mombasa yesterday said the surge is replicated by Pro Gas and other dealers.
“The prices have increased so much that our clients have disappeared and the business has gone down,” said Mercy Wangui, a gas dealer at Kongowea area.
“Ever since I started this business I usually have about five empty cylinders, however, today I have more than 300 empty cylinders. Clients come and pack their vehicles, ask for the price and leave without buying,” explained Mercy
Wangui said she has been receiving frequent messages from the gas companies notifying her of the increase and she has had no option but to comply.
“However, I fail to understand what has triggered the sudden rise of prices because initially the government had told us that they wanted to decrease the cost of gas to make it affordable and encourage use of clean energy. Today we asked why they are increasing the price but they have no answers,” Wangui added.
Florence Murage who is a trader in Mombasa told Business Hub that the current cost of gas has forced her to use kesrosene, firewood and charcoal as an alternative.
Outside her stall where she sells eggs and serials, Murage has packed three gunny bags of charcoal which arrived yesterday from remote parts of Kilifi, a confirmation that she has shifted to an alternative source of energy.
“On Tuesday last week I went to buy gas and was shocked that the prices had shot from Sh2,000 to Sh 2,900 for a 13 KG gas in just two months. So I opted for charcoal and as you can see my cargo is here already despite the smoke,” she explained.
David Otieno who is a gas dealer at Kwa Karama area in Nyali said the constant increase of prices is not good for their business.
“If you increase the price from Sh1,100 this week to 1,200 next week and Sh1,300 the following week clientswill run away,” said Otieno.